Fugitive Found on Facebook Pleads Guilty to Failing to Appear in Court in 1993

A fugitive who was found on Facebook after eluding authorities for 20 years has pleaded guilty in federal court in San Francisco to a charge of failing to appear in court for sentencing in a 1992 tax case.

Francisco Legaspi, 61, formerly of Daly City, and most recently a resident of Ontario, Canada, was an accountant and professional tax preparer.

In 1992, he pleaded guilty in federal court to one count of aiding in the preparation of a false tax return for a client, the Mission Child Care Consortium, but failed to show up for his sentencing in January 1993.

U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag said Legaspi fled to Mexico and then Canada. He was found in 2012, Haag said, after the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security searched social media websites and discovered his Facebook page.

The U.S. Justice Department enlisted the aid of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in arresting Legaspi and he was extradited to the United States in June.

Legaspi pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge William Orrick on Thursday to the charge of failing to appear in court. He will be sentenced by Orrick on Oct. 2 on both that charge and the original conviction of aiding in preparation a false tax return.

The failure-to-appear conviction carries a possible maximum sentence of two years in prison and the earlier conviction has a maximum of three years.

Before Legaspi fled in 1993, prosecutors had recommended a 10-month prison sentence on the 1992 conviction, while Legaspi’s defense attorney had asked for six months of home detention.

Julia Cheever, Bay City News

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